Stem Cells & Biologics
There are a number of biologic therapies available in the field of regenerative medicine to treat conditions of the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, and ankle. These therapies may be used in injectable form, or in cases of more advanced articular cartilage damage, may be used in conjunction with surgical treatment. Dr. Whyte is involved in research that investigates the use of biologics, such as mesenchymal stem cell therapy, to treat cartilage injury, and works in collaboration with the OASI Bioresearch Foundation, Milan, Italy, to develop and improve advanced techniques of regenerative therapy.
Growth factor (GF) therapy is a novel treatment that promotes healing in several musculoskeletal conditions. GFs are contained in platelet α-granules along with other important bioactive proteins responsible for attracting mediators of tissue regeneration and healing.
Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) is blood plasma with concentrated platelets. The rationale for the use of PRP is to stimulate the natural healing cascade and tissue regeneration by release of platelet-derived factors directly at the site of treatment. There is a variety of GFs in PRP preparations, including transforming GFs, platelet-derived GFs, hepatocyte GFs, basic fibroblast GFs, epidermal GF, vascular endothelial GFs, and insulin-like GF. The elucidation of some of the functions of GFs in tissue repair has led to the use of these bioactive substances in various non-surgical procedures, as well as surgical treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, including bone fractures, cartilage defects, and muscle and tendon lesions.
Recent studies have documented the effectiveness of PRP preparations in several orthopaedic problems, by controlling the synthesis and degradation of extracellular matrix proteins. The secreted factors regulate key processes in tissue repair, including cell proliferation, chemotaxis, migration, cellular differentiation, and extracellular matrix synthesis. GFs mediate the biological processes necessary for repair of soft tissues, such as muscle, tendon and ligament, following acute traumatic or overuse injury. Their mode of action is to bind to the extracellular domain of a target GF receptor, which in turn activates the intracellular signal transduction pathways. They have also been shown to be useful in chondrogenesis and prevention of joint degeneration.
Multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) may be used to assist with regeneration of cartilage tissue in certain cases of cartilage injury. MSCs have a high proliferation and differentiation potential into chondrogenic cells. MSCs are capable of differentiation into chondrocytes, leading to the formation of cartilage, and promote the formation of durable repair tissue. MSCs may be used as an injectable treatment, or used in combination with various surgical procedures to treat cartilage damage.
-OASI Bioresearch Foundation
Single-stage Cartilage Repair using a Hyaluronic Acid-based Scaffold with Activated Bone Marrow-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (HA-BMAC)